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Who's In Charge Here?

Republicans have a majority in the House of Representatives, albeit with the slimmest of margins. But because of the irrational and obstructionist behavior of the MAGA fringe of his party's caucus, the Speaker, Mike Johnson, is unable to bring bills to the floor, let alone pass them into law, without the assistance of the minority Democrats. While the party supposedly in power demonstrates again and again its inability to meet the basic expectations of governing, the Democrats, headed by Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, have assumed the role of being the grownups in the room, putting country ahead of party in a bipartisan effort to pass crucially needed legislation.


As noted in the New York Times, "For the second time in two years…Republican leaders have had to turn to the minority party to rescue them from their own recalcitrant right-wing colleagues in order to allow major legislation to come to be debated and voted on."  Most recently, the bills being blockaded and delayed by the MAGA crazies included desperately needed aid for Ukraine, as well as companion bills for aid to Israel, and funds for humanitarian aid to Palestinians in Gaza.

 

It is almost unheard of for the party that holds the majority to refuse to support their leader's request to approve a rule to bring legislation to the floor, and equally rare for the minority party to support such a motion. Of course, you can bet that Leader Jeffries isn't digging Speaker Johnson out of this hole without expecting something in return. The Democrats ll expect to have substantial influence over the language of these bills, what amendments are allowed, and how the aid will be structured. They will undoubtedly refuse to include what they consider "poison pills:" amendments that would revive the harshest border security measures of the Trump administration.

 

Speaker Johnson will quite likely need another lifeline from the Democrats to save his wobbling speakership. Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and Thomas Massie of Kentucky have vowed to remove him from his job, using the "motion to vacate the Chair" that brought down his predecessor, Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California. "Every single time in this 118th session of Congress, the Democrats have put the priorities of the American people over everything," Representative Katherine Clark of Massachusetts, the number 2 in the Democratic leadership, said on Wednesday. Who knows? If enough Republicans are crazy enough, and sufficiently in thrall to their Dictator in waiting, Donald Trump,  to vote against their own leadership, we could wind up with Hakeem Jeffries as Speaker. And none too soon!

 

When voters cast their ballots this fall, they need to remember the chaos and ineptitude of this clown show. They must remember what veteran Republican Representative Tom Cole of Oklahoma, the former Chair of both the Appropriations Committee and the Rules Committee, said this week about Greene, Massie, and their cohorts: They show "a lack of respect for the institution and the wisdom of the institution." About the "bomb-throwers," he added, " But we can't wait for these infantile narcissists to grow up--we need to send them packing in November.


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